Belo Monte :
Chief Raoni's petition


The rainforest ecosystem is the oldest as it survived the Ice Age. During million years, rainforests evolved and developed into every possible life form.

Although luxuriant, rainforests grow on poor soil. The forest has its own food chain where nutrients are stored just above the ground, in the plants. These nutrients become part of the food chain as it rains, but once part of the forest they remain in the forest. Leaves and other dead organisms (plants as well as animals) are decomposed by bacteria and mould at incredible pace, and get immediately absorbed and used by living plants.

A rainforest only lets 5% of sunlight through to the ground. It protects its own environment from light and wind, and keeps heat and moisture within. The closed canopy preserves moisture through a process called transpiration: plants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen and moisture just like when we breathe. Half of the rainfall volume comes from water the forest produces.

Because of its complexity, a rainforest food chain is very fragile. When burning rainforest to clear land for agriculture, farmers get a soil which productivity decreases heavily in only a few years. Farmers then need to go and wipe out another part of the rainforest.